Bacteria are bad. Mothers and doctors, not to mention the cleaning product industry, repeatedly warn of their dangers. But a Stanford University School of Medicine microbiologist is raising the intriguing idea that persistent bacterial and viral infections have benefits.
Stanley Falkow, PhD, the Robert W. and Vivian K. Cahill Professor in Cancer Research, is publishing his thoughts on this topic in an essay in the Feb. 24 issue of the journal Cell, in which he asks, "Is persistent bacterial infection good for your health?" The essay is based on a talk he was invited to give at Cambridge University in November.
Falkow points out that the medical community and those who fund medical research focus on curing disease. He wonders if this single-mindedness might distract researchers from appreciating the beneficial contributions of micro-organisms to the body.
Mitzi Baker | EurekAlert!
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